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Visiting the border, Trump says immigration ‘system is full’

President Trump visited the U.S.-Mexico border in California Friday. While downplaying his previous threats to cut off cross-border traffic entirely and praising Mexico for “terrific” apprehension levels in recent days, the president also said during an appearance with border officials that “the system is full.” Amna Nawaz reports on Trump’s rhetoric and the prolonged delays at ports of entry.

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Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Down on the border, President Trump is in Southern California this evening, touring the U.S. boundary with Mexico, and talking tough about migrants. But he is now playing down any plans to cut off cross-border traffic.

    Amna Nawaz has our report.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    As he left the White House this morning…

  • Donald Trump:

    I never changed my mind at all. I may shut it down at some point.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    … denials from President Trump that he had backed down, after threatening to close the border with Mexico. This week, he said he'd reassess in a year, and again today hailed Mexico's efforts to stop migrants at their southern border, before making yet another threat.

  • Donald Trump:

    Mexico has been absolutely terrific for the last four days. They're apprehending everybody. Yesterday, they apprehended 1,400 people. The day before, it was 1,000. If they continue that, everything will be fine. If they don't, we're going to tariff their cars at 25 percent.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The president then flew to Southern California, met by protesters and by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, capping off her three-day border tour.

    Their meetings with law enforcement and tour of a newly-built wall replacing older barriers comes as attorneys general from 20 states filed suit to stop the Trump administration from diverting other federal money to fund border wall construction.

  • California Attorney General Xavier Becerra:

  • Xavier Becerra:

    President Trump's policies exacerbate any issues at our border. It is time for us to make it clear that, if you want to build something using taxpayer money, you got to get permission, the way previous presidents have always done.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The House of Representatives, led by Democrats, also sued.

    In a statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the administration's move violates Congress' right to control spending because it — quote — "wasn't authorized by constitutional or statutory authority."

    President Trump, meanwhile, confirmed today he's withdrawn Ron Vitiello's nomination to lead ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

  • Donald Trump:

    Ron is a good man, but we're going in a tougher direction.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    At a roundtable this afternoon in Calexico, California, the president laid out what that tougher direction might mean.

  • Donald Trump:

    The system is full. We can't take you anymore. Whether it's asylum, whether it's anything you want, it's illegal immigration, can't take you anymore.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    This as the backup continues. After moving hundreds of agents from these ports of entry to help manage the families and children entering the U.S., the Trump administration has now created hours-long waits across the border.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz.

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